President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins Commemorates Royal Canal 200th Anniversary
The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, will commemorate the Royal Canal's 200th Anniversary in the presence of Waterways Ireland, the Royal Canal Amenity Group and invited guests in Clondra, Co Longford on the 27th May 2017. The event takes place on the anniversary of the day when the canal was completed all the way to the Shannon in 1817.
The Royal Canal closed in 1950 and remained closed for 50
years. The extensive lobbying and volunteer work of the Royal Canal Amenity
Group and the work of Waterways Ireland staff and their predecessors in OPW was
rewarded in 2010 when the Canal was reopened to navigation.
President Higgins has been a significant supporter of the
Royal Canal and the inland waterways for many years. As Minister for Arts,
Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, the President drove the re-vitalisation of
the canal networks, including the
redevelopment of the Royal Canal.
Now a vibrant recreational location, investment by Waterways
Ireland and Longford County Council in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland has
revitalised Richmond Harbour, Clondra, now a Blueway hub. Additional investment
by local authority partners along the length of the Royal Canal has seen the
upgrade of the towpath to international trails standard. Only a short section
in Co Longford remains to be upgraded before the entire 144km towpath can be
Dawn Livingstone Waterways Ireland Chief Executive spoke
saying "I am delighted that the Royal Canal Commemorations will be
honoured by the presence of President Higgins. The volunteers and staff worked
so hard to reopen this navigation. They have provided a valuable service to the
people of Ireland by their fight to keep this wonderful recreational amenity in
public hands. As a result it is here
providing opportunities for every community to freely use for work, visit, play
Should people wish to attend the commemorations on the 27th
May, they are welcome to come to the harbour. The village will be closed to
traffic from early on the day and so invited guests should park in Tarmonbarry
where a small coach will bring them to and from the harbour.
Attendees can expect to see the unveiling of commemorative
plaques, traditional crafts and special arrivals by boat and horse & cart. Following the speeches, walkers from Irish
Famine Trust at Strokestown House will set off to walk to Dublin in the steps
of the 1490 people who left the Mahon Estate to walk to Dublin and the boat to
America 175 years ago this week. Music will be provided by the Garda Band who
will perform on the quayside.